A large part of improving and modernising access to justice involves moving HMCTS services online. But we know that a small number of people find it difficult to access online services. People’s needs vary; they may need support across the end-to-end journey for HMCTS services, or they may need help to complete an online form.
After running a competitive tender process, We are Digital has been selected to manage a new national service, delivering support across England, Wales (including support in Welsh) and Scotland (for tribunals only). This will begin in October.
Support will be delivered face to face through community and advice centres, such as Citizens’ Advice and law centres. It will also be available over the phone or via online software, such as Skype. In parallel, staff at our Courts and Tribunals Service Centres continue to deliver lighter-touch digital support over the telephone.
Important learning from a successful pilot scheme informed the new national support service. Run by Good Things Foundation, the pilot supported a total of 1,221 people, establishing what our users need to support them with accessing our online services. Support was delivered through a small network of community and advice centres, helping us understand what a larger national support service would look like. On average, people who used the service rated it as 9.5 out of 10. One person who benefited said: “Absolutely amazing. They’ve taken the pressure off.”
We’re investing over £10m across the life of the contract to rollout this important service. During the first six months, the service will be designed and tested, ramping up to a full national service being in place by spring 2022.
Mike Brazier, Head of Digital Inclusion, said:
This is a great service that will help people access the justice services they need and I’m really proud of the work the team have done. We are grateful to Good Things Foundation for their work on piloting our digital support service and look forward to working with We are Digital to continue our commitment to supporting people who need assistance to use our online services.